Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Turtle Tower Adds A Level To Its Restaurant, And I Add A Level Of Enjoyment To My Pho Ga

Back in February, I rang out the tenure of Turtle Tower Restaurant in its original Larkin St. location with a ceremonial bowl of TT's iconic pho ga (chicken soup). It recently re-opened in its new digs a couple of doors up the street from its old location, and today I got around to ringing in its return.  While the new Turtle Tower venue doesn't quite tower over the old one, it has literally raised itself up a level, adding an upstairs dining area, so I raised the level of my chicken pho a level, ordering it with giblets, a dish known as phở gà lòng.

On my grandparent's farm, my grandma liked to serve visitors a dish she called chicken and giblets, as if a giblet were a separate creature from a chicken.  When I was very young, I think I even believed in creatures called giblets (probably punked by my two older sisters in this regard). As far as pho ga long is concerned, they might as well exist as separate creatures, since the addition of giblets to the chicken pho brings a dramatic new dimension to it. The gaminess of the giblets adds an entire layer of flavor onto the unctuousness of the chicken flesh; likewise, the extra chewiness of the giblets greatly expands the whole range of textures in the satisfying bowl. I don't know what took me so long to discover this, as I  have no fear of offal, but I cannot conceive of ever ordering pho ga  again without the giblets.

The relocated Turtle Tower Restaurant, seen below with a blue facade, has yet to have a sign erected to identify it, but needless to say its legion of regulars have no trouble finding it.

Where Slurped: Turtle Tower Restaurant, 645 Larkin St., Little Saigon, San Francisco

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